28 November, 2012

Bakers delight

I used a palette knife today with much abandon. I smeared, scooped,dragged and smooshed paint around....it reminded me of icing a cake. I am trying to use a variety of brushstrokes/painters marks in my paintings to add interest and texture.

I had a very interesting , albeit quick, chat with a local artist, Gillian McCready. She does amazing things with oils and resin, working in layers to carefully construct incredibly luminous abstract paintings.They are quite beautiful and very organic. I wish I had an example to show you, but I did see her exhibition at the Artspost Gallery earlier this year and was most impressed. It reminded me how much I enjoy talking with other artists and that I need to incorporate that into my life.

25 x50 cm
oil on canvas board

24 November, 2012

unfinished business

I have yet to complete this painting. I know that sounds a bit odd ( why did she post it unfinished?...nutter), but I am not sure who needs to be in this painting: the cyclist or the hitch-hiker. Both know the meaning of the lonely road and both have been on my mind recently . I have a soft spot for cyclists....some of my best friends are roadies and I love how fantastically scary hitch-hiking can be ( I swear, of all the things my mother made me promise not to do, not hitch-hiking was the one I kept.) . The good weather has seen an increase in cyclists on the country roads and hitch-hikers have been waiting on the side of the roads at the major state highway intersections. I think they herald summer.

But that aside, this painting is not about the figure in it, it's about the lonely road, the sky and the stillness that is so rare these days. The right figure will present itself.

oil on canvas panel
25 x 35 cm

I am a week out from travelling up North to Ruakaka to spend the day painting and learning from a great talent, Richard Robinson. I have been slightly freaked out by this and managed to paint like a complete twit for a while until I reigned the self- doubt in, told it to pull up a chair and watch quietly whilst I pulled myself together, and then continued to paint as normal. I have not heard a word from it since!

I am very excited and I hope you have a look at his work....he is amazing and self taught to boot.He recently traveled to Hawaii and has a free downloadable book...well worth the read.

21 November, 2012

Island clouds

In the afternoon, the clouds build up into great banks off fluffy "island " clouds. They rise tall and bouffant into the sky, making for fabulous sunsets and the odd afternoon shower. They have the most glorious shades of purples, greys and whites that change so quickly it is almost impossible to record them. Piantings skies is really, really difficult because you have to paint the impression, not the reality, as that changes so quickly.

I painted this in my garage!~
I was looking out north, past my neighbours house, to the Hakarimata range in the far distance, the farmers fields devoid of cows which are probably grazing other pastures to allow the top paddocks to recover in spring.

oil on canvas panel
22 x 30 cm

20 November, 2012

Busy days

My days have been very busy with everything bar painting, lately. The children have had a variety of activities that have required my complete attention and the new puppy is not as restful as I would like, so adding "walk the dog" into my day has sneaked a few hours out of my painting time. But the days are warming, the sun is out, the sunsets have been spectacular and there is a lot more daylight time to play with.

This was the second warm up exercise I painted a few days ago. I have a box full of reference photos and I challenged myself to grab one, sight unseen( a bit of a lottery there!) and paint an interpretation of that photo. I am enjoying the transition from blindly following photographic reference to the detail  to using them as inspiration and using artistic license.

This was one of the sunrises at Whangamata beach, photographed by my mother ,who woke each morning at some ungodly hour to witness the dawn.

15 x 20 cm
oil on canvas board

13 November, 2012

Muster demonstration

Here are a few photos taken as I painted today's scene...a wonderful South Island muster .

 I watch a New Zealand TV show called Country Calendar and they often have shows about the annual musters on the massive south Island farms ( they call them stations). I would love to go on one and paint and take photographs...that would keep me busy for a whole year!!!! Maybe one day......

 stage 1. Block in and establish direction and the lightest areas.

 Stage 2. Block in the colour

 stage 3. more colour and some shapes

 stage 4. establish the shapes using the negative shapes...!!! I know, crazy stuff!

 Stage 5. work on the shapes and add texture to the landscape, small details to the pack horses etc

 Stage 6. Fiddle but not too much. Move the paint around to make the shapes.Do not think about what a horse looks like anatomically but think about what the train of pack horses feel like. ....and then paint that. Fine tune the colors.

Stage 6. Walk away and think about it for a few days!
20 x 25 cm
Oil on hardboard

Then I made a collage on the computer for the FB page...like this!

So much fun!
I hope you enjoyed seeing the progression and evolution of the painting as a process. Let me know if you would like to see it again.......and if you are a station manager or owner, please can I come with you next time?!

11 November, 2012

Glendhu Bay beach

I wanted to paint a landscape over a black gessoed canvas ground with a massive brush. I almost used an ordinary house painting brush, but  had recently purchased a huge , long handled brush that is almost 4.5 cm across at the tip and that was just the ticket.
I used my oils, stood back and really enjoyed the looseness of the impression.

30 x 60 cm
oil on boxed canvas

Glendhu campsite stands at the bottom of a big mountain, which casts it's shadow onto the water...which was still and completely reflective the day we visited. Saying that, my boys started skipping stones and paddling around, so it was soon less than tranquil!!!

07 November, 2012

Sheep Grazing on Te Mata Peak

These sheep were grazing on the steep  hills of Te Mata peak, Havelock North. I love this part of the world.....they have it all, vineyards, mountains, sea, orchards, fine weather, great towns and quaint villages.

I took this photo and have painted it before, but I have no idea where that first edition is hiding, so I used the opportunity to paint it again. If i find the original, I will post it.

The weather is warming up and my easel is seeing a little bit of outdoors action, but the truth is, I should get up earlier to paint but am a lazy so and so!

oil on hardboard
25 x 30 cm

05 November, 2012

Botched paintings and studies

There is an attrition rate in painting.....for me, about 1 in three. That's pretty high, but not as bad as it once was!!
For every canvas I paint I LOVE one, I am dissatisfied with one and undecided with one. The successes speak for themselves, but what to do with the others? Throwing them away is a waste and I want to learn from the mistakes, but I don't want to be faced with them all the time.
Well, I now place them upside down on the easel and paint over them! I was previously unable to tear my eyes from the original design but the upside down trick works well and I tend to paint looser and faster( to cover the mess!) and usually end up with a painting I am delighted with.

If the original painting is compositionally sound etc, just boring, I go back and work on it with some reference in mind so that it becomes a tutorial of sorts. It is not precious and intimidating like a blank canvas, yet it has potential.

This was OK, but boring.

So I reworked the foreground and it looks better. I am always happy to add the creeks!

I won't paint over any more studies, but I will use them to paint larger, studio paintings. The bad paintings will continue to be recycled.....the texture created by the dried paint alone is magic.

I have a new giveaway on my Facebook page .....have a lookYou can always gift if you are the winner...a good  Xmas present!!

November already.........wow.

03 November, 2012


 A continuation of the theme of looser, abstract painting in an effort to attain the right feeling or atmosphere ....the reference is .from a family holiday to South island two years ago. We had a great holiday and especially loved Wanaka, Arrowtown and Otago in general, the autumn colours helping out with the visual feast.

Charles and i cycled along the banks of the river Clyde to where it reaches Lake Wanaka, along a path so strewn with yellow poplar leaves that it looked illuminated from beneath. It was magical. We went back later with the whole family to show them the path, the crystal clear waters and the sandy beach.

60 x 60 cm
oil on stretched canvas
click here to purchase

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